WTF: Samsung region locking the Galaxy Note 3, even if you purchase a fully unlocked unit

Are you sitting down? Because I have some news for you that will make you want to shove your first through a wall. About an hour ago, David Meyer from GigaOM filed an article saying Samsung was region locking the Galaxy Note 3. By region locking I mean a Galaxy Note 3 purchased in Europe will only work in Europe. His evidence was a photo (above) of the retail packaging taken by the UK phone seller Clove.

This made me wonder, is the locking a European only thing? Yesterday, before going to bed, I watched Michael Fisher from Pocket-now unbox his own Galaxy Note 3. He showed his audience all sides of the retail Note 3 box, admittedly a part I skipped over since I’m not too interested. But after re-watching Fisher’s video this morning, I was appalled to see the same sticker that Clove spotted, but this time saying an American Note 3 can only be used in North, South, and Central America.

There’s no nice way to put this, so pardon me: What the fuck, Samsung? People buy unlocked phones so they can use them on any operator in any country. I personally bought a Note II in Malaysia knowing full well that it’ll work just fine in Europe and the United States.

Expect hell to be made over this issue.

Update: It appears that the Hong Kong Note 3 doesn’t have any of this bullshit.

Like this post? Share it!

  • def4

    I appreciate your outrage, but could you hazard a guess as to why exactly they are doing this.
    Why do they care and how does the gray market impact them to such extent that they would pull off such a stunt?

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      I’m hearing some reports that Samsung will lift this restriction once you “register” the device, whatever that means. Basically, they want you to buy a European phone, shove a European SIM inside, tell Samsung that yes, you are in Europe, and only then you’ll be able to do whatever the hell you want in terms of America and Asian SIMs.

      But again, this isn’t confirmed information. I’ve contacted Samsung. Waiting for an official statement. Please don’t pass my “theory” around as fact.

  • why locking? they speak about compatibility here. Probably it is related to GSM/LTE support.

  • ConCal

    Those idiots.

  • Anon

    Samsung have responded, they say the region lock is only in place for the first activation of the device. Its fine after that.

  • Bill

    I’m willing to bet this has more to do with the grey market than anything else when it comes to their devices. After all, Galaxy phones are the only handsets that go toe-to-toe with the iPhone in terms of “single model” device sales (even though, just like iPhone, there is more than one model of each Galaxy phone).

  • DisappointedFan

    Samsung’s claims of their device working with foriegn SIMs after “activating” in your region with the appropriate SIM is false as proved by multiple users testing their devices at the xda forums. It simply won’t work. I’ve read comments about customer care centers denying having the ability to unlock these region locked phones. And some retailers refusing to take back the purchased devices.

    I’ve tried to contact my local Samsung multiple times about this region lock issue but I haven’t heard a word back. So basically Samsung no longer cares about it’s reputation. It’s time we moved on from Samsung.

    But if you still want Samsung to come out with answers and clarify this issue at the very least, keep writing to them and talking about this issue in the media and social networks. We may not get them to change their minds but at least we’ll know where they stand.